A celebration of diversity at Valley Intermediate

Published 12:38 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2010

By JULIE VALENTINE/Guest Columnist

The day began with the sounds of bagpipes and drums. Students gathered in the auditorium to hear the Alabama Pipes and Drums play in full Scottish attire. Mexican dancers and a South American guitarist/soloist completed the Opening Ceremonies. In a moment of joy and celebration, a Venezuelan teacher and parent joined together to dance to the music of their country. Valley Intermediate School vibrated with the excitement of our third annual International Bread Festival.

After the opening ceremonies for each grade level ended, rotations to different countries began. Each class visited six to eight different classrooms and the countries they studied.

Every classroom featured a country from which one of the students or a family member had emigrated to the United States.

PowerPoint presentations, artifacts, traditional clothing, and bread from that country were shared with students and visitors.

Students were given paper “passports” to carry as they “traveled.” In each country they visited, the passports were stamped with a sticker from that country. Children moved from country to country gathering information, stamping their passports and enjoying delicious food.

More than 20 countries were represented from our student body. Valley Intermediate had more than 300 visitors, primarily parents and younger siblings, attend our festivities.

Many families came dressed in the clothes of their culture. Parents were thankful for the opportunity to see their country honored. One parent cried when she told the classroom teacher how much the day meant to her.

Students were thrilled to see the diversity in our school. One of the many student comments included, “my favorite was Mexico!” Many teachers were touched to see the impact the Bread Festival made. Mrs. Grinnell stated, “this is my favorite day of the year.” This cultural experience is offered at VIS in order to help us truly celebrate our diversity!

Julie Valentine is an ESL teacher at Valley Intermediate School.